Exclusive Interview with Louis Bigras of Hillside Outlaws

Louis Bigras of Hillside Outlaws

Why country music ?
~ Country music is the common love that we have as a band. In my case, I was born country. It sounds simple and it is. I grew up on a riverbank in Eastern Canada and the backwoods were my backyard. I basically grew up a living country song. My whole family was musical - my dad played and sang along with all my uncles. Our house was always the location for family gatherings and there wasn't a Bigras event that didn't involve live music. I knew the words to Willie Nelson's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" before I was old enough to write them down on paper. Country music is in my blood - it's in my soul.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which two people should sing the ultimate country duet?
~ We would love to see Waylon Jennings do a song with Luke Combs. Then again, if anything and everything were possible, we would want to be the one to do the song with Waylon!

What song (that you've recorded) means the most to you and why?
~ This is a great question. Our song "City Boy" - from our new EP, Country Jukebox - is very autobiographical and holds very deep meaning to me. With that said, the song "Country Jukebox" is an ode to all of the great country artists that we grew up with and all the songs that really made us who we are today and this holds the greatest value because its important to remember where we came from.

Who would you like to write a song for you?
~ We would love to get in a room and write with Luke Combs. That man is brilliant. He's a modern day outlaw and his work is pure genius.

How would you like to spend a day with each other when you were not allowed to make music or to talk about music?
~ A whole day without music? Ha! On our latest tour, we had some downtime and ended up at a music store and performed a couple of songs for the people who were there! In this case, we would say just hanging out. Aside from being bandmates, we have all become close friends and share a lot of similar interests. Knowing us, we would probably spend the time by a campfire if possible, drinking whiskey and tequila!

Give us one country song you never want to hear on radio anymore and tell us why.
~ "Singles You Up" by Jordan Davis. This is a story that just isn't that relatable and is a bit creepy. It's basically a song about a pathetic guy who can't seem to get his own girlfriend, so he's trying to steal someone else's woman. Don't be that guy!

What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ We never get asked about my hobbies. In my case, I am an avid sailor and I have a 40' sailboat which I love to sail. I spend as much time as I can out on the water.

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ When we hear the words "recording studio", we instantly picture the mixing board. In an age of digital technology, we still love the giant analog mixing console with a big glass window looking into the "live" room. The studio where we recorded Country Jukebox was great. It had a giant room with 20' ceilings where most of the instruments recorded live off the floor. There's something about having everyone in the room at once that is magical. In my imaginary ultimate studio, the room would have every instrument you can imagine and the control room would be full of vintage guitars hanging on the wall.

Johnny or June ?
~ Johnny all the way. He's living proof that a person can come from nothing and make something special. All you need is determination. It's nice to remember jJohnny and know that the hard work can and will pay off. It has helped us get where we are now and will help us get to where we want to go. Johnny Cash is more than a man who made music. He is an inspiration.

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves.
~ Nerves are essential for a great performance. We would be worried if we didn't get nervous. After all, we are only human and not impervious to these kinds of feelings, no matter how many times we get on stage. If we didn't get nervous, it would be because we have grown too big for our britches, in which case, we shouldn't even be out there. Staying humble in this line of work is very hard but it is also very necessary. Speaking for myself, I embrace the nervousness as it makes me feel alive. It's a reminder of how lucky I am to get to do this. The only thing that calms my nerves is stepping out on the stage. The first note and the nerves are transformed into positive energy, which is why I believe they are essential to give a great performance.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ Most of our favourite memories are from playing live, and sometimes it's the smaller shows that become very memorable. This is one example that comes to mind. We were playing in a bar right after the Super Bowl. Sunday nights are usually a hard sell but in this case, the venue was packed and everyone was already primed up. The response to our performance was amazing and we had everyone's attention. People in the front row were reaching out the way they would at an arena sized concert - slapping high fives and just excited to be close to the band. For a moment, we felt like superstars and even though we weren't playing to thousands of people, the energy in the room was as big as a stadium.

Louis Bigras of Hillside Outlaws

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Answers given on August 20, 2018
Photos:Bobbi Sloan Photography